Lake Lucerne Attractions
The Vierwaldstätter See or Lake of the Four Forest Cantons (the three original cantons of Uri, Schwyz and Unterwalden together with the canton of Lucerne) is commonly referred to in English as Lake Lucerne, but this is, in fact, only one of the lake's many arms. Lying at an altitude of 437 m/1,434ft, it is the fourth largest of the Swiss lakes (area 114 sq. km/44 sq. mi), length from Lucerne to Flüelen 38km/24mi; greatest depth 214 m/702ft), but is second to none in magnificence and scenic variety.
The great mountains with their endless scope for walks and climbs are reflected in the spacious surface of the lake. The famous lookouts of the Rigi, Pilatus and the Stanserhorn are brought within easy reach by mountain railroads and cableways. The beautiful shores of the lake with their southern vegetation offer numerous swimming places. The neat towns and villages provide luxurious or modest accommodation at the visitor's choice. These attractions, plus the lake's associations with the origins of the Swiss Confederation and the legend of William Tell all help make the Lake of the Four Forest Cantons one of the most popular tourist areas in Europe.
The lake begins in the west as the beautiful Luzerner See (Lake Lucerne), with the Bucht von Stansstad (Stansstad Bay) and the Alpnacher See to the south and the Küssnachter See (Lake Küssnacht) to the northeast. Then come the Weggiser Becken (Weggis Basin) and, beyond the Rigi and Bürgenstock promontories, which reduce the width of the lake to only 825 m/902yd, the Gersauer Becken (Gersau Basin) and the Buochser Bucht (Buochs Bay).
Running south from Brunnen is the Urner See (Lake Uri), a fjord-like strip of water enclosed between massive rock walls, scenically the most magnificent part of the lake.